The West Baton Rouge School Board voted Wednesday evening, May 21, to reduce the number of candidates vying for the position of parish schools’ superintendent down to four candidates.
The vote to narrow the pool came on the heels of the board’s decision to add three names to the list of five, bringing the list of top candidates to eight.
The original five candidates, chosen by BWP and Associates consulting firm based on input they received from board members as well as the West Baton Rouge community, were Dr. John Jackson, Dr. Charles Michel, Dr. Victoria Miles, Frances Annette Mire and Dr. Amy Westbrook.
According to board president Jason Manola, the board expressed to BWP and Associates that they desired to broaden the top results to eight total.
In the consultants’ report, Sandra Sims-deGraffenried wrote, “the consensus of the Board is that it would like additional candidates to consider. Therefore, we are presenting three additional candidates for the board’s consideration.”
The next top three candidates were as follows:
• Joey Comeaux – Director of CTE, CWA, Data and Technology, Secondary Schools, and Transportation for the Assumption Parish School Board since 1992.
• Cynthia Ourso – Elementary Supervisor of West Baton Rouge Parish Schools. Ourso acted as principal of Cohn Elementary School from 1998-2003.
• Wesley Watts – Current Principal of Zachary High School since 2004. Watts began his career as Dean of Students at Central High School in 2000.
The board unanimously approved the addendum to the final report for the superintendent search, which ended the meeting’s consent agenda.
After the consent agenda, however, the board went into executive session for about an hour to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of the applicants.
Upon returning from executive session, a motion made by Toby Sarradet and seconded by Teri Bergeron allowed the board to vote to narrow the eight candidates to four candidates who will be invited to participate in interviews, which the board voted unanimously to do.
The four candidates were chosen via ballot by each of the 10-member board as members indicated which four members they desired to hold interviews with. Once the ballots were collected, a tally revealed which four candidates were still in the running for the superintendent position.
The board decided to interview the following candidates:
• Dr. John Jackson – Administrative Liaison for the University of North Georgia and former superintendent of the Oconee County School District in Watkinsville, Ga.
• Frances Annette Mire – Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Staff Development for WBRP Schools.
• Cynthia Ourso
• Wesley Watts
“That will be your four candidates that the board has selected through ballot to interview for the superintendent position,” Manola said.
Manola said that the board could begin interviews with the candidates as early as this week, but will probably interview within the next two to three weeks.
He said that the community will be able to interact with candidates during meet-and-greet functions.